When I evaluate a picture book for story time potential, it must pass several tests before I will choose to read it out loud to a roomful of preschoolers.
First, the story must be the appropriate length. Picture books with 1,000 words are just too long. Preschoolers have fairly short attention spans. I am searching for books with between 300-700 words.
Second, the book must have large, colorful illustrations. I want the children sitting in the back to be able to see the pictures.
Third, the story must have a plot. I want it to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I don’t read many concept books during story time. They don’t hold the attention of the children very well.
Fourth, they must have a certain re-readability factor. Will the child want to listen to the story again? Many times the parent will check out the books that I read in story time and take them home.
Finally, they must have an element of fun. I love funny picture books that make kids laugh out loud. I love surprising books with a twist ending. I also love totally unique picture books.
There are so many great story time picture books, but here are a few of my tried and true favorites: